Microsoft inks another Linux deal

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Microsoft announced, Monday, that they have signed another patent licensing deal similar to the one inked with Novell, back in November. This time around, the deal is with Xandros and small business class Linux distributor. When Microsoft signed the Novell deal, there were several cries of protest form the open source community. The deal announced yesterday is one more notch in the belt for Microsoft, as they continue to license IP to open source companies.

The broad collaboration agreement is based on a set of technical, business, marketing and intellectual property commitments. Over the next five years, the two companies plan to work on increasing interoperability to increase systems management. The news here is that Xandros customers will get IP protection from any legal issues stemming from using Microsoft owned patents.

“Through the agreement, Microsoft will make available patent covenants for Xandros customers. These covenants will provide customers with confidence that the Xandros technologies they use and deploy in their environments are compliant with Microsoft’s intellectual property,” Xandros said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not discussed, and neither company will talk about the new draft of the GPLv3. The new GPL draft will prevent future Microsoft and Novell patent deals. The new draft, will allow Novell to use GPLv3 rather then prevent it from doing so as previously thought. One twist is that once Novell adopts GPLv3, Microsoft will be subject to the terms because of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscription coupons it gave to joint customers.

In a recent interview, Microsoft said they would seek royalty payments form companies who use open source software. Most if the royalties would be paid for using certain Microsoft held patents in several programs. One example is Open Office, which Microsoft said, copied over forty patens for its creation. The issue regarding the royalty payments is that they have never listed exactly what patens were violated. This is why many say Microsoft is only out to scare companies, and then make money off licensing deals, in return for a ‘we will not sue’ card.

As part of the deal, Microsoft will now endorse Xandros Server and Desktop as a preferred Linux distribution. In addition, a specialized team of Microsoft staff will be trained on the value propositions of this collaboration to customers and channel partners, the company said.

[Submitted by Imran Asad]

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